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  CSPAN    Washington Journal    News/Business. Journalists and  
   policy-makers take viewer questions; newspaper articles.  

    January 30, 2010
    7:00 - 10:00am EST  

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about the president's state of the union speech. and at 9:15, a discussion on mexico's druck drug traffickers. . no carrierringconnect c1
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>> from watching the exchange yesterday and seeing what the president had to say and how republicans responded, we want to get your sense of what you learned about policy, decision making, the relationship between the president and the republicans on capitol hill. to give you a flavor of the exchanges yesterday, many of the dove with health care, is somewhat the president had to say. >> if you were to listen to the debate and frankly you get to this bill, you would think that this thing was some bolshevik plot. [applause]
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that is that you guys presented. i was thinking to myself, how was it that it planned -- how is it that a plan that is pre centrist -- that is pretty centrist -- i am just saying and i know you guys disagree, if you look at the facts of this bill, most independent observers would say that this is what many republicans -- is similar to what many republicans proposed to bill clinton when he was doing his debate on health care. all i am saying is we have to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and reality. >> we will show more of the exchange between the president and the republicans yesterday. the papers were playing up this event.
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obama goes to the gop house for a wide open exchange. joining as knows what the reporters that covered the exchange. can you pay what happened yesterday on television and compare that to help residents in the past when they appear before the gop and the setting? how was this different? guest: as your viewers to call it and what we learned is that the democratic president and the republican house members have irreconcilable differences. they can spend 90 minutes together in a hotel ballroom without ripping each other's throats out but the political words were firm and the differences of political views are just irreconcilable. that is what we learn. it was an unusual political appearance. it is not the first of a democratic president has appeared before a republican
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group. back in the bush days, president bush in 2007 appear before a house democrats. it was the first time that the q&a session of such an appearance -- the press was allowed to cover it and it was on live television. that made it very, very unusual. president obama was introduced by republican leader john been received a standing ovation and then he went to a joke. he borrowed a phrase from the godfather," you know what they say, keep your friends close but visit the house every so often." he said there were occasions when republicans have been on the same side of an issue but emitted clear that he knows that the big issues like health care and gop opposition were
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disappointing. the recovery act last winter -- a city did not understand and still didn't understand why there was opposition and republican caucus for $300 billion in tax cuts. he told the republicans that he is not an ideologue and he is open to ideas from the gop but he said they have to be credible ideas. he was critical of republicans to their opposition to. reform tbill. he ended his remarks talking about a total of civility instead of slash and burn. he said that would be helpful. he toured on the news media and said sometimes it was our fault that we respond when we hear
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slash and burn politics. the city did not get all lot of -- he said he did not get a lot of credit if he talked about paul ryan. host: is there a sense of how as far as the mechanics of how this exchange: television? the papers reported that the white has initiated this offer. can you fill in the blanks? >> it was congressman john baker, the house republican leader, will invited president barack obama to appear before the gop. -- john boehner. white house officials said it was them. this the president obama will appear. he wants press coverage and
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unlike previous appearances of this kind, where the press is as to remove itself from the room, with a q&a begins, the white house said leave him in there. they portrayed that the q&a session be open. it was in it was on live cable moves yesterday afternoon. host: was it an easy decision by the gop to let it be open tex? guest: i suspect they were trying to spare the president of the bears the because he was going -- he gets a very blunt questions. apparently he wanted to be seen pushing back at republicans, standing on his son, by showing that he wouldn't be bullied. he suggested to them that perhaps they need to make some concessions in order to help to
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get some of his agenda done. i am not sure he was able to obtain any converts. he gave as good as he got, put it that way. host: we could only see the president's exchanges. since you were in that room, anything in that room that was worth noting as far as things that we didn't see? guest: house members with their body language made clear that the did not agree with much of what the president was saying on political issues. he certainly received a polite reception. there were no outbursts. there were no boos. republican leaders did not want anything to occur that would have put their cards and the bad luck or make people feel bad for
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the president. host: we came across the historical nature of this because of your twitter feet. d. you wrote to george h. w. bush would be at the white house today? guest: he shall upon the i asked what he was coming. apparently, it is just a courtesy call there is nothing particular on the agenda. former president bush probably is just in town for an appearance. the libyan town for the alfalfa club dinner tonight. he is coming but -- the alfalfa club dinner is to night. george w. bush was intel, a couple of weeks ago with former president clinton when mr. obama asked and to work together in order to reduce private sector
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contributions in order to help the haitian people in responding to the horrific earthquake. host: you also write to the white house has released a visitor's list? guest: the sardis a few months ago. as part of president obamas efforts -- they started this a few months ago. it is part of president obama's efforts to be more transparent. there was a loss to the few years ago when the government activist group, crew, sued the white house defendant who was coming in to give advice to vice president-elect and the president on various issues. the white house for it to lendale. when the new administration came in, they agreed to release on a monthly basis started in september, the list of all white
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house visitors and guests. there were a few exceptions. the exceptions of national security individuals. yesterday, they put up the list for the month of october. it was a list of 75,000 names. i figured out that if you're going through list, it would take you 20.3 hours to peruse the entire list which i have not yet done. host: 84 being so generous with your time and especially on a saturday morning. we turn to you as far as the exchange between the president and republicans yesterday. we want to get from you what you learn from this. the numbers will be on your screen. such as an e-mail at journal@c
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span.org. caller: good morning. first, i have a question. but interest was the gop response was played -- i am curious why the gop response was pleased when you start the program. what was it necessary to have the reporter analyze the whole of that when we could have seen it herself in the comments? fox news didn't show it live. the cut off unwanted and analysis. one thing i learned from watching it this morning is that presidents knocked down the
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talking points of the republicans with facts, not that this would be a government takeover. he would point by point and debunked everything republicans were saying. he talked about frank lon, and talked about the republican talking points in the republican leaders and told the leaders to tell us was in the bill. host: democrats learn, kathleen. caller: i watched this twice. i was so impressed with the state of the union, also. once a very hard august,
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maryland conservative until this president. i turned a democrat and i am happy i did. i used to be very narrow minded, like republicans know, close minded, can't see best my nose, living in the past, but is what the republican congress is doing. they are living in the past president barack obama has done nothing but try to get the point across. we are not living in the 19th century anymore. this is the 21st century. it calls for 21st century ideas. republicans are acting like spoiled children who got their toy to keep away from them which was power. they can handle it. they're doing nothing but causing trouble an accrediting done. i know from experience, i was once one of that breed, i am so glad i changed.
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please tell mike pence, i am a barrister isn't in the eye, brisman, i think he is a creep. tell him he can take that book you will direct all the yesterday and showed where the sun don't hoshowing. host: republican-led, good morning. caller: i am from the west coast and i have been tried to call it for months about health care. what this conference proved to me is that republicans are corp. politicians just like the democrats and nobody has to the alternatives. that is because none of congress is looking at the real cost of health care. i have 40 years' experience in accounting, tax and insurance and a continued that the main reason we all got hooked on this hmo craze.
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insurance is for the big stuff. when you run the small stuff through, it is costly. uprooted in the last couple of years by running this protection insurance. a record five hours of phone calls with my mammogram provider and my husband and my doctors and defender of that they have to pay specialist in a massachusetts forced most of. my mammogram would cost $450 if i read through insurance and $175 paying cash. host: did you learn anything about health care from the exchange yesterday? caller: only that obama is working with a congress that is looking at the facts and obama has not been listening either. host: hartford, connecticut, you are next. you are on our independent line, good morning.
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caller: yesterday, it was an interesting day. a left so much when the positive and the republicans met. he tried to discuss everything that it would take for this country to get out of the whole. mike pence was trying to save that obama was not helping in the was a low blow. [unintelligible]
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the president was bold enough to stand up and so many times he told the they were incorrect. host: one of the republicans who responded was representative jed henselring. >> you are soon to present a new budget. will the budget triple the national debt and continue to take this down the path of increasing the cost of government almost 25% of our economy? >> with all due respect, i have to take this last question as example of how it is hard to have the kind of bipartisan work we're going to do. the whole question was structured as a talking point
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for running a campaign. let's talk about the budget once again because i will go through it with human blood. the effect of the matter is that when we came into office, the deficit was 1.3 trillion dollars -- $1.30 trillion. when you say sudley that have light monthly budget -- when you say that the budget -- that i have a monthly budget that is higher, it is not true. you know it is not true. host: you can respond to this on twittered. . one viewer is said that i understand he is getting pretty aggressive. next call, burlington, mass.. caller: first of all, i am
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someone from bowl left and i was initially disappointed with obama's moves as far as the war, as far as the health care. i think yesterday showed just how much he is above the republican party. it isn't too bad it wasn't shown primetime. he showed that in the only knew the facts but he showed that without being sarcastic and without showing temper, he put the republicans in their place. that story brick and the beginning. -- that started right from the beginning. he looked like he was -- he
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looks like mike pence was scolded him. obama smiled and put him in his place factually. he did not try to make him sound stupid for asking his questions. he said this is the way it is. you could tell off the bat and that set the table for a warm afternoon for the republicans. while barack obama was asked pointed questions, the vast majority of the questions were handled with intelligence and with the good gentle pace but not backing down. he did put them in their place. in a small way. i hope americans saw it because it showed his leadership ability. you have a thing about blackwater and i hope your viewers will go to jeremy scahill and find out how evil and awful this company is to the
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world. host:"the new york times" about the exchange yesterday. intents and vigorous and sometimes pointed, the exchange was civil and substantive. it was an area of issues that both sides said they need more of. also twitter -- -- off of twitter -- alabama, republican line, go ahead. caller: what i mostly learned about of the exchange was that there is a tremendous opportunity for the legislature's and the president on both republicans and democrats. there was a card through on the
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table to meet them halfway. and all the listeners take this one main point. when you have a major piece of legislation, whether it be health care, cap and trade, the national deficit, and it is a large issue, we need to stop trying to work these things in massive amounts and to this by breaking them into their parts. it is like one red light and the whole district of washington or new york. it is a road block because you can i get through the grid lock. if you take that thing and break into its parts and you pass it in its parts, then you have a more compromising opportunity because the parts are smaller. that is the issue that has been presented. we have parts that are workable but we have parts that are not. it was offered in many ways and we heard it. let's do the things that are good that we will work on those
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things that need to be worked on in the future. host: two bits of economic news -- russian leaders wanted chinese leaders to dump money into the u.s. bond market. he said the report was deeply troubling to create a sudden loss of confidence in the economic market. this is from a book and henry paulson. the book goes on sale on monday. on the front pages of "the financial times," there's a story that deals with the book -- a book. international bankers have responded to this notion of it
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fee for bankers. among regulators and politicians for an insurance levy. the best way to insure that collapsed would not fall on taxpayers. bankers have resisted the idea is. they said considering a global levee from the president't. any new levy would be likely to appear in a resolution fund which is in front of the senate. it creates a resolution fund for when the bell companies -- for big companies. what did you learn from the exchange yesterday between the president and the gop republican leaders? caller: good morning, pedro. i learned a lot. i learned we have a very, very
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intelligent and sharp president and everybody needs to start respecting this man. i am glad the two showed jeb henserling of texas. the president mentioned that he would love to see this after it was checked on the facts. i wish you would go to the trouble if it was find out -- to find out if it was fact-checked. i wish someone would show where he entered the chamber and a look on his face before anything started the men had a mind set that he hated to be there from the beginning. i have a million things i would love to said. have a nice day and i enjoy your show host: appreciate you calling in. gettysburg, pa., go ahead. caller: if anyone doubted our
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president's toughness, they got their answer yesterday afternoon at the republican conference. it was starring barack hussain obama. i doubt that the republican party will invite president obama to another one on one q&a and if they do, cameras will probably not be in the room and our president would go. i was shocked with his brilliance, his level of detailed knowledge of any and every subject and his ability to defend his fundamental belief that in spite of all that we think about bipartisanship, at his court, he believes in it and possibly, maybe it will happen if we continue to have such conversations as we had yesterday. we learned three things -- we learned that a real conversation with the republican leadership
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can take place without the vitriol, caricatures, and ugliness from the republicans that has marked the first year of the president in office. only in the light of day where cameras are in the room to record and scrutinize the sheer lack of factual and serious debate in favor of this march jazz. the president had a knockout punch. babbithe needs to fight back wie facts and he needs to continue to do so as he did yesterday where our country can see. host: republican on -- republican line, queens, new
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york. caller: of a style bases, the president is brilliant. it will be difficult to vote against him. i did not vote for him. he is so sharp and aggressive in terms of style, i don't think that -- one thing i think that was put to rest, if you looked at the whole presentation was that at the end of the day, he was being -- was rushing things up and shaking hands. the republicans all round him treated him like a rock star. the brought their children and he was. signing was this was not a man who was taken as a black man who republicans were against because he was black. they treated him like a rock star, a celebrity, which he is.
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host: on their newsmakers program to more, our guest is senator byron dorgan. he is the chair of the senate democratic policy committee working on the jobs bill. yesterday, the topic of health care came up. he was best if the president made a mistake putting health care on the agenda last year decks? >> do you think the prest made a mistake? >> do and not because health care is not important. but think the timing was not good. state in a deep hole, it is hard to reach a right to put together a health care proposal
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that could get through the congress. i personally would have said we should work exclusively on re- starting the economic engine once again putting people back to work. the president would say he was working on that as well. if i stage this, that first, health care later. the president won the election, i did not. you cannot fix the economy without fixing health care and there is some truth to that. there were a menu of changes that could be enacted and signed into law by the president. host: that is right after this program at 10:00 and you contested online at c-span.org. calls about the exchange yesterday between the president and the republicans, our independent line, go ahead. caller: the first thing you did
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at the beginning was u.s. mr. knoller and he talked about irreconcilable differences between the two parties. to me, that indicates exactly what obama said and that is that the media is part of the problem. i thought the exchange was great and civil and it really showed that the two can act together. i did not need mr. knoller to mention irreconcilable the princes and stir the pot. i learned that they need to get leaders together we're all party leaders get together with the president and the white house and peaceable like they were and talk to each other. i think both parties could win politically because they definitely showed they can get along and cooperate. i thought that was just a great
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show. i am glad they televised it. chost: do you think the same home would have been achieved with cameras tech's caller: we don't know because we have never seen it before. it seemed authentic and honest. host: kansas city, missouri, democrats line, go ahead. caller: what i got out of the deal yeste)day was that"i think it shows us that maybe we can work together. i hope that we can because the president needs to get something done and he needs help doing it. all we are doing is s.d. from the truth, from the democrats, from republicans. . if you're not going to tell the truth you cannot deceive the
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american people like this. i think obama did a good job and 3p% think we can work together. host:"the washington post" talks about the government setting targets for cutting emissions. governments spend more than $25 billion on electricity and fuel and 2008. that is about 1.5% of the country's total energ[ spending. 95qzuju(uqj about 500,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles. the new order is not as sweeping as a could of been. it does not include emissions stemming from activities of federal suppliers or a federal employees' commuting. the defense department pledged to reduce greenhouse guess by 34%, but pledged does not include combat operations.
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holyoke, mass., go ahead caller: the republicans are out here for the ceo's of corporations and the rich. it was not a fair and balanced test. i notice that every time the republican tried to give their point of view, it is always "they." some of the republican ideas they gave had no numbers in them. you'll find later on that the republicans start handing the president certain policies but there are no numbers in them. it is always fake. here we are talking about hypocrisy. these are people that aren't so called christians -- that are so
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called christians and the religious channels that sit here and call people from haiti doubles, this is what christianity has come to? this is how to manipulate religion to serve their purpose of government? i thought we were here for the smallest person, for the children of this country that are suffering because the rich are getting richer and they are sucking the life of the people by coming l with these scams with health insurance and all these things and they are sucking the life out of medicare and social security. for the veterans of this country and the veterans tat bush left behind it did not -- they did not do anything for the veterans. these programs are what keep the rest of the surviving here. what is happening is that the republican constituents are starting to feel how the rest of america used to feel. host: connecticut, on our
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independent line, go ahead. caller: what i learned yesterday was democracy in action. if that was a boxing match, president obama 113 rounds. ford simple -- won 13 rounds. i am a fiscal conservative. he called of frank luntz and said it is good to have good talking points on different policies but you cannot throw out jobs. they have to work together. that was amazing. i had never seen anything like it. i watched it on c-span
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yesterday. i watched it this morning. thank you for everything you do for cspan. host: if you missed the re-air on this, you could go to our website, c-span.org. little rock, arkansas, and arab democrats line -- on our democrats line, what did you learn from yesterday? caller: i already knew that the president was sharp. i already knew that he loved his country and cared about this country and wanted to do the best he could. what i did learn is that many of the things that republicans say are talking points. i knew -- i knew that the to see him respond to it was a good thing. america needs to see that. that is all, thank you.
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host: according to twitter -- states will, north carolina, -- statesville, n.c., go ahead. caller: of employment is 20% -- and unemployment is 20%. they are spending millions of dollars. the gdp was up five points in december but does not carry out the hundreds of billions of dollars the government put in.
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if the gdp went up, how, employment keeps going up -- why does unemployment keep going up? host: they cannot set higher co- payments or deductibles in insurance. insurers cannot set higher deductibles. the health and human services the administration says the new rules could increase premiums by 4/10 of 1% or $500 billion over the next four years. let's show you a bit more from the meeting yesterday with the president and republicans. >> the fact of the matter is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically
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vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. you have giving yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you have been telling your constituents is that this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that will. destroy will -- that will destroy america. ther tone is not just on your side, it is on our side as well. we demonize the other side so much that when it comes to getting things done, it becomes tough to do. host: georgia, good morning. caller: good morning. i am disappointed that i did not watch all of the debate between the republicans and the
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president. i have to say that i learned that those people are on live television, i think it rains in some of the hypocrisy and the tendency to stretch the truth lay little bit. -- to stretch the truth a little bit. the people in this country are brainwashed by rush limbaugh and the right wing propaganda. propaganda machine. we need to have the facts. i wish you guys would fact check some of the people you have gone there. host: you don't think that if the cameras were not there that what it would have been different decks caller: of course, these people stay in office by projecting an image. you both for the image of the
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men or the woman, not what they really stand for. we have the internet in this country but we do not bother to use it. if you get on their and use google, go to the treasury department's.gov and type in income tax history, you will find us some things about the great depression, tax cuts. during the roaring '20s, there were four different tax cut. the depression still c'mon. we are in a heck of a ship in this country. we have to wake up and we have the means to fix it but if we keep falling these people that cannot lead, host: brantley, you can test the entire broadcast again tomorrow night at 9:00 in the evening.
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caller: i appreciate that. god bless america, goodbye. host: louisville, kentucky, democrats line. caller: i am a democrat but i want to speak from the viewpoint of an individual from neither party. i am tired of politics. i am tired of the republicans -- xyou notice after anyone gets through speaking, the other side talks about the other side of the idea. why can't they get together and say what they will do? americans could vote either way and they should be able to vote for either side if they show that they want to get together. we hear this from the commentators and the news kid --
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i would like to see the politicians getting through and say what they propose. one of the get together and they say this is our proposal. they're the ones that really needed. host:"the guardian" newspaper has pictures of tony blair appearing before a panel yesterday on the panel about iraq in his role with the troops there. it is written that on the long awaited cross-examination, he gave no substantial grounds over what he sent 40,000 u.k. troops to disarm saddam hussein over weapons she did not possess. he had to take the decision as prime minister. it was a huge responsibility.
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there's not a single the of the passes by that he does not think of that responsibility. faced with the charge that 100,000 i iraqi civilians lost their lives, he said he did not doubt that leaving who saddam hussein' in power would have ben wrong. one more call, about rouge, louisiana, republican line. caller: what i saw yesterday -- we will have to wait and see who was right and who was wrong when they check the facts. how much was the truth and how much was not the truth. i have been noticing this
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morning on your program that you should call this democrat-span because everyone of their people have dragged their to this morning. if you cannot realize what they are doing, they are jamming your program. everyone of them say they are a republican but just listen to the returns. their answers. they are all democrats. host: we had some critics this morning, actually. caller: you can just listen to them. they say they are i republican. listen to them. they have drank 30 this morning. there kool-aid. it is ridiculous. anybody with any common sense
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can see what is going on. host: if you want to see the question and answer period of this exchange, it will be rebroadcast tomorrow evening at 9:40. our next segment deals with the subject of high-speed rail. money has been set aside from the budget to finance a high- speed rail projects throughout the united states. our next guest studies that as far as the rails concerned and what it does for job creation. his with the american transportation association and we will have that topic after this.
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>> american judge can be enclosed for spreading good will overseas debts >> i think so. over there, it is like a religion. they go over there and they live it. >> he was without question, the single most important figure in just in the 20th-century. >> q a date sunday on his biography on louis armstrong. >> to night, the history of executive power from george washington to george w. bush. this is part of our book tv weekend, on c-span 2. >> listen to cspan radio in
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washington at 90.1 fm. it is also if reapplication for your iphone. >> "washington journal" continues. host: our guest is the vice president for policy at the american transportation society. what does your association do text guest: they are at association of all the public transportation systems in the country and affiliated interests going back to 1882. membership embraced high-speed rail. accordingly, we are front and center in that area. there was a former association in washington called the high- speed ground transportation society. they had 500 members. that was in the days when high- speed drills more of a vision, a
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dream that was being chased. they adopted in 2006 to fold into our organization. host: the vice president and president were in florida this week to talk about this. >> this single investment woman solve all our transportation issues overnight. instead, with more than $55 billion proposed from 50 states across the country, we are providing $8 billion in seed money and the word today will provide initial funding for the rail system. more funding will come in the future as progress is made we have committed to another $5 billion in funding over the next five years. that is a downpayment on a truly national program that will reshape the way we travel. host: what is the likelihood
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that localities can pick up on speed rail possible? week.: history was made this the $8 billion that was part of the economic recovery program adopted last february was a sign that this is serious. this is a sign to businesses and states and a sign that this is a serious national priority. a billion dollars is a down payment on what will be an ongoing program. states have already come forward. there was an extra amount of interest in the initial solicitation. there is 259 applications, totaling $57 billion. they just beat to move ahead with. they did it in a good way. they've projects that are ready to go. theáe is another bunch of projects that are getting ready to go and another bunch of products -- projects that will eventually be part of the
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system. host: so states and localities have to pitch in up the tab. much will that be? guest: it will be a partnership. around the country, the systems that have been built have been built with strong federal involvement. that is important. there are ways of keeping them going. they have been successful. they can be close to self sustaining. the initial build up will be with a strong federal investment. the $8 billion was the first part. you already have the 2010 appropriations bill providing an additional $2.5 billion. that is a signal that this is not a one time deal. we're talking about a program there is also an authorization bill introduced by the house infrastructure that would authorize an ongoing permanent $50 billion program. we're seeing the building blocks and there are laws fitting together to establish the
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framework for the federal program. you are right, there will be state and local funds needed. there's a lot to be said about that currently. state governments are financially strapped. part of the criteria for these applications are which states are ready and which states are well along on their plans and which states have started to put together the financial programs that will sustain the systems. host: cause of the federal involvement, do they become extensions of amtrak? enter guest: is the national system which connects the country. -- amtrak is the national system. high-speed rail is a better choice.
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high-speed rail is defined traditionally as a multiple of systems. we have a bunch of different types of speech. i think that is appropriate because in my field, the public transportation field, you have support from the federal government but decisions make locally. sometimes, in california, there might be a true high-speed system support of 200 miles per hour. other places will have emerging systems. there might be systems that get their incrementally. host: 80 miles per hour could be high speed text guest:sure, if you make of this service better and more reliable and make it faster than it was, you limit
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penetration into the market. even those type of systems -- many of those systems are the first of to get to the higher speeds. host: what about the loca.%=9mì+ that were talked about yesterday, california, florida, what is it about those places that make them ideal for federal money to be invested tex? guest: the money was balanced in 13 different corridors. those projects work for a long for it had environmental work done. they had planning for a long. they were strong markets in terms of the areas that were being linked. this was part of the jobs and economic recovery bill. we want to lay the groundwork for a permanent an ongoing program. this is not just about mobility. we're talking about jobs.
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we're talking about an industry that is going to have -- we need people to design and build these systems and operate the systems. we need to universities that need to train people for the systems. we need an industry which between the combination of the growth of transit,x amtrak, flet replacements they will announce a few days, and putting high- speed rail over the tipping point, we're close to having a vibrant market for domestic rail manufacturing industry. host: so the types of jobs teì(+ create would be long-range jobs? guest: some short-range jobs but we're talking about a program that is part of our transportation future. this is completing the system that was started in various ways and it is the missing link that other countries around the world have on the united states and we are catching up.
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host: you could ask questions by calling the numbers on your screen. you can send us your questions or comments journal@c-span.org. caller: i am 52 years old and i can remember getting on a trip in chicago and writing to st. louis and directly to joplin when i was a child. the corporate real service has taken over our public rail lines. it has destroyed transportation in the united states.
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i think it is a great idea to bring back the train. i think people will take. tak it. we are doing this because we need to park their cars. guest: the caller back to number of important points. first of all, when you give people a good choice, they will take a good choice. if it is not a good choice, they will not take it. amtrak has been an important part of our national picture. they have not been given the support, i do not believe, to become the system it could be. we're talking abut giving people good choices. we're talking but giving people the true option that would make sense for their trouble decisions. interestingly, the trip from chicago to st. louis and kansas city is one of the corridors that received funds this week. the other comment about the
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reference to the freight rail system -- the united states as the best freight rail system and the world. of a ways to go on the passenger side but the freight rail system is robust and needs to be kept that way and nurtured. it needs to be a partner with passenger-side going forward. host: mobile, alabama, you're next on the republican line. caller: why do we need something like this? . .
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the trends all support this. people riding this are making a choice to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. so there's a lot of trends pointing this is right for our future. so it's a matter of connecting the dots. it's going to be part of our transportation in the future. host: how profitable are rail systems? iveragetteds public transit systems need support. it's like other functions of government that you need to
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support public. they do a lot on their own. but it won't work without some government assistance. just like you need support for roads and you need support for other transportation. it's anñi underpinning of our c. high speed rail systems can around the world -- we don't have any models here. we're starting from scratch in the united states. we need to build on international models. some come close to breaking even or better than that on the operating side. but they need support to get them started. host: wouldn't amtrak's system be a model? guest: yes. youf a good model there. there's no doubt that's the way to go. and it is, you could call it high speed rail. it's close to that. part of this bill, the grants announced this week would help
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improve some of the bottlenecks around the way that would make it a high quality system. guest: it's small. but $8 billion, when we're starting from scratch, that is a good start. you noy, we're going to -- we have to really gear up to prepare for this. that's why this was announced last february. there's been an incredible amount of leadership from the federal railroad administration to sort through the incredible amount of applications they received, sort through what are the best projects. now we're to that point. and it's going to be a challenge. but already we're talking about a little bit at a time. that's the way the interstate highway system took 40 years to build. and this is going to take 40 years to build, also. host: next call is new jersey. ind 7b9 line.
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independent line. go ahead. caller: i had two comments. one about high-speed rail. i hope i can make a brief clent on your earlier segment with q and a. host: go ahead and ask your one about high speed rail first. caller: i was wondering if your guest had any information regarding plans to expand it beyond the regional area in florida. i think the country really would benefit so much from a real line that went from the top to the boot m. across the whole country. host: the announcement from the president and vice president was in florida. of course, that project to go from orlando or tampa to orlando and then down to south florida. but that was only one of 13 corridors that were identified. where we have corridors stemming out from chicago, in
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california, in the pacific northwest. i could go on and go through all 13. but, so it is going to be a national program but it won't be -- if you're going from seattle to miami, don't take a train. that's the kind of trip that you want to, that's appropriate for a flight. but the idea behind this high-speed rail program is linking markets that are within a two or three-hour train ride away. host: someone on twitter talks about travel. guest: the interstate highway system was a vision right for its time enacted in the 1950s. but we're going to need more
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than that. we're talking about the united states growing 3 million people a year. we're talking about the people living, migrating by and large to urban areas. we're talking about the whole country that needs service. but the future is going to need balance. we can't build roads everywhere to accome date the people. we need a balance in the system. host: high speed rail systems internationally are in belgium, china, taiwan, japan. how are those operated compared to our model? guest: we have to learn from them. we have to learn from the international models. my association is doing a huge amount of outreach in that area to learn. but we have a different context in the united states. our environment is different, our shared corridor environment is different. our -- we have to make -- our regulatory environment is different, finance, labor, et cetera. so we have to learn from the
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international model but put them in the united states context. host: how subsidized are international rail systems? guest: to build them, it's the federal government across the board has to be heavily involved. that's what you do. you get that investment going to create ongoing economic benefits. after that, the subsidies, you see how it does. and if you make the right decisions, hopefully they can come close to self--sustain. host: if the rail systems are built, can you give us an example of what a ticket price might look like? guest: different regions have done different studies. i'd have to leave it to them to do that. host: baltimore, maryland. democrat's line. caller: i wanted to say there's a lot of important issues going on, and i just wanted to say the reason -- i want to get straight to the point. the reason that i scald here is because one of the guys when we
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were having the discussion about what obama said and what did you learn? the guy said us democrats were drinking coolade or whatever. host: we did this in the last segment but now we're talking about high-speed rail. caller: i'm getting to the question. host: ask the question, please. we'll have to leaf it there. philadelphia, pennsylvania. republican line. go ahead. caller: i'm just listening to some of the comments. tampa to florida just seems like such a short drive for somebody to either fly into tampa on a trip into florida to take the rail down a little farther. i just don't see the justification why a family wouldn't just jump in their car and take the hour, hour and a half ride it would be down to florida where you're assuming they're going to go to the
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train station, pay for parking, purchase these tickets that you're say you're not sure of the price yet. but for any business model i'm sure that would be one of the first things you would have to investigate, what kind of ticket price and what the market could bear for something like that. it seems like a whole lot of expense to borrow money from china to buy the trains from japan for a 90-minute ride. host: well, again, we have to -- first of all, it's a fair question. because the automobile probably will be, certainly will be the preferred option for a lot of trippings. but looking at internationally, the systems have been enormously successful. there's no reason they won't be here. they certainly will be here looking forward. we're seeing trends in public transportation where you give people the good choice and they'll take it. we've grown three times the rate of population growth, public transit has, in the last
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15 years. and more than vehicle miles traveled on the highway side. so public transportation is gaining support. it's not right for all trins. certainly there are more automobile trips. but transit is an option and part of the overall system. host: what safety conversations have to be made for high-speed rail guest: the challenge is going to be duplicating the record around the world. it's been extraordinary. high-speed rail, for example, the japan system, which is the world's first high-speed rail system opened in 1964. there has not been a fatality in all of those years, an extraordinary record. so the technologies are in place. and not only in japan but other systems around the world. very good safety records. apparently it's a system that works. we have to do it. host: in your opinion, can those be incorporated into u.s.-based systems?
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guest: sure. host: cheaply or at a reasonable cost? guest: there's advances going on. just in the last few weeks, the administration has put a rule out on positive train control which is a crash avoidance technology which we don't have applied in a widespread way here. but that's just one of many things that can be done to enhance safety. host: the workers on high-speed systems are they unionized in many cases? guest: certainly the steps taken through the economic recovery program indicated that it would be -- there are certainly labor laws in all of that. and i would say the answer generally would be yes to that. host: new jersey. caller: good morning. i thought it was interesting that this proposal to provide speed rail would have linked orlando and tampa.
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as you're probably aware, dizz 93 world and disneyland in california have had relatively high-speed mono rails for over 50 years. they are extremely safe, they move millions of people 24/7, they're comfortable. they don't have the problem of right of way. they're elevated, they're elect fid. no problem with collisions with pedestrians or vehicles. and i can even recall as a child in the 1950s when walt disney would introduce his weekly show, that he offered the plans and technology for that system that any city or county would be interested in adopting. any comment? host: guest: sure. mono rails, as you point out the idea has been around for a long time. some people have done it. seattle is one example. recently in las vegas. but not a lot of people have. so you do have questions on
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technology. there's also magnetic lev station technology. but it seems like steel on steel high-speed rail is the system that's being chosen. one other quick comment about, about florida. again, corridors are all over the country we could talk about, too. but interestingly i find in transit, i find people do like to use transit for their recreational type trips as well as their work trips. going to the ball park, places that's -- another reason to use public transportation. guest: well, fits of all it's a global economy. american companies have plants around the world. hopefully there will be a lot of international companies investing in the united states. but hopefully it will be
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american jobs that build these things. we have buy america laws on that that require this. i believe the united states market over the years has been very marginal for the rail manufacturing. we've lost all our domestic builders. at one time we had many. now we -- i would say we have none but already there are two that are starting. with the idea that there's a promise, there's a market here building. that will continue. and i think when you get to that critical mass of orders that every year there's going to be so much business and we do other things in a smart way, such as establish standards thal make the market work better and we have procurement rules and grant rules that make these streamlined and we know there's a steady flow of money, a steady flow of orders, those are the thing that is will attract the business. host: what speed is a high-speed rail system? guest: what powers it? i would look, again, first of
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all, it has to be a national program which is why i think the announcements this week were very smart in making sure that this isn't just for one or two systems. i think that the program wouldn't work that way. some say let's put all the money in one or two systems. other states aren't going to like that. you have to see it to to for you. so we have a program here that there's a lot of benefit all around the country. idge that's part of it. you also need all the support systems. we need to ramp up our workforce. host: when you say powers it. guest: energy. host: i thought you meant -- guest: certainly when you get high-speed they need to be electrified. host: is the system in the united states capable of handling all these projects? guest: i don't know the answer to that. i'm sure that we're going to have to get there to do that.
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it's all part of what our energy needs are going to be for the future. host: indianapolis, indiana. democrat's line. go ahead. caller: what i would like to know is why must the government get involved in this project? if you listen to those who wax the fox news channel, the worm that the presidents put in their plates yesterday, you would think this would be a socialist program. but why must the government get involved? guest: well, transportation doesn't work without a government partnership in all of modes. in aviation, in highways, in public transportation, in intercity passenger rail, you need the government support. the private sector is an important part of that, too. this high-speed rail program is going to be enormous. it's going to be the private sector that builds these lines.
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it's going to be the private sector that designs them. it's going to be ourçó universities, the train people, to do these jobs. it's going to be widespread. but the governmentçó is the catalyst for all of that and it won't happen without the government. host: joan, good morning. caller: good morning. in 1969, or 1970, i rode the bullet train. i think we had to drive to naga sackie, to tokyo. and it scared the bloody hell out of me. i had a three years and a four -year-old. but it was an experience. host: can i ask you why you're scared? guest: because it goes so fast. host: when you say you just felt uncomfortable on the ride sfplt that what you're saying? guest: yes. but apparently they like it. but here's my question.
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are we going to hire the japanese to lay the rails like we did in the 180s 0s or are we just going to borrow money from them? guest: a and b. these are going to be american jobs, american workers. this is not something -- when you look at the trends and look at what the future is going to require, this is a 21st century technology. you referred to that with the speeds. it's forward looking and it's american jobs. host: bakersfield, california. good morning. caller: good morning. first off, i'd like to thank brian lamb, the most respected person in that area. i just wanted to make surthat brian knew how grateful we are in all of c-span staff. you know what? this is going to be a game changer here in the central valley. despite what my local radio
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says all the time, from bakersfield to l.a., we're one of the areas that are going to benefit. it will be a game changer. regrettably, i'm in the 22nd congressional california district with kevin mccarthy, who runs -- no one ever challenges him. it's one of those wonderfully jerry manned erd districts. we could get so many more jobs and more money for our area if my congressman were replaced with someone who were receptive to all the new technologies. but we have nothing but stale. that's one of the problems with these districts, is you get someone who is not challenged and you get just the most bland, uninspired representation. host: when you say game changer, what's the drive time between the two points you
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mentioned? guest: if you leave at like 3:00 in the morning, you can get into l.a. in two hours. it's maybe 120, 150. what i'm really hoping is that it goes through heart of orange county as well. i mean, it's going to change everything because like in the san francisco bay area, with bart, which is, by the way, something the affluent take in san francisco. public transportation is usually associated with lower socio economic groups. the thing about high-speed rail , and like the bart system insistance that they build and design well, is that it's not just people who can't afford transportation, it's people who are driving 50,000, 60,000 dollar automobiles are deciding to leave them in the driveway and take bart in the san francisco bay area, and this is going to be the same thing. what people don't understand is that it changes everything when
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you get a decent transportation system that everyone is willing to take, because now los angeles will be 30 minutes away. that means i can go down to downtown los angeles and see all the wonderful museums and all the cultural things that there are there in a day, and now it's like four hours on a good day. usually traffic is so terrible down there it's like three or even four hours. host: before we let you go, what's the cost to ride bart? caller: bart is in the san francisco bay area and i lived up there 20 years ago. it was rather expensive then. so these things are not cheap. but what they can, if you take -- the other thing is you're dealing with a total different culture here in america versus like in japan and everything. like americans. we have to have that hand distance away. over there in japan, you know, you're dealing with a
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hommodgenuss group of people. americans, it takes a little bit longer time to get americans out of our box. like i love my car. host: we'll have to leave it there. appreciate all the input. guest: a couple responses. and a couple new points here. first, these high-speed rail systems are going to be for everybody. you're going to have all types of people, a microcosm of society using them. that's what they're designed for, for everybody. second of all, these have bipartisan support. so it's nots one side or the other. infrastructure traditionally has been a bipartisan issue. and certainly high-speed rail proposals have attracted bipartisan support. third of all, in terms of the cost, you mentioned bart and all of that. the fact is, public transportation is an enormous savor of money. imagine your transportation budget in your household, which
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is about 19% of a typical household budget, more than what a family spends on health care or more than what a family spends on -- on food. the only thing higher is housing. so getting by with one less car through public transportation option, through high-speed rail options, a family would save $9 ,300. that's how we calculate that. host: washington, d.c., democrat's line. michael, good morning. caller: hello. i just wanted to thank your guest for coming on to talk to us. and i wanted to also thank c-span for allowing us to voice our opinions. let me just get straight to it. c-span, after having this debate yesterday, i don't give a hoot about the trains. i want to find out the rest
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about the debate. i would ask c-span to please let us voice our opinions for the rest of the day. host: can't do that now only because we're in a segment dealing with high-speed. again, if you want to talk more about what we talked about earlier, you can go to our website. you can watch there and see other information as well. ray bow city, alabama. go ahead. caller: yes. i would like to ask the gentleman over there, is he aware that florida, for the voters, for high speed rail back in the 70s or the 80s, i believe it was? and i would like to say something else. ever since the government took amtrak, the taxpayers money has been going into amtrak all the time. they have never made money. it's a wasteñi of money.
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and i believe that if anybody wants to do a high rail, speed rail, whatever, i believe that the government doesn't have the right to take the taxpayers' money from north dakota and build a high-speed rail in florida or whatever because it's never, never, never, going to be profitable. thank you. host: guest: a couple comments. we're talking about a national system, and not everyone uses the road in every part of the country. but through our national system, you get the pieces there that are going to benefit everybody in all respects. seconds, if i could say about the public support for this. let's look at how the public votes with their feet at the ballot box when there's a transit ballot measure up that's talks about additional support for public trans, andrew willing to raise your
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local tax. the fact is, it's been over 70% of the time that the public says yes when you ask that question. so i think the public supports there. they're voting for it. they're facing the financial aspect. and the fact is we need the balance in our transportation system. host: independent line, tampa, florida. jerry, go ahead. you're one of the people directly affected by this decision. what do you think about the prospect of a system between tampa and orlando? caller: i've been listening this morning, and i'm surprised art didn't bring up that the high-speed rail was on the ballot down here when jeb bush was king, and we voted for it. and he actually told us we didn't really know what we were talking about. and to the woman who said that we hire the japanese to build the railroad. ma'am, that was the chinese and we forced them to build the railroad. i'll hang up and listening.
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thanks. guest: again, that does tie to the previous point that the public did vote to support rail in florida. the public voted to support rail in california. the public has voted to support these projects around the country. and when the community gets the project, they don't say, well, we made a mistake. by and large they're wanting more. they want more. they want to build on what they have. so i think this is absolutely a trend. the public does like it. the public is voting for more. host: we talked about high-speed rail in the context of public transport. but is there a means of commerce that could come out of the system once they're built? guest: absolutely. as we look to the international competitive aspect, we have to give a good deal here. we have to provide mobility, we have to make our economy efficient. all of those productive things. high speed rail is a good way to do that. don't have to worry about congestive airports.
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actually, airports would be freed up to take advantage of the more economical long distance flights. it's a good deal for air, for road, for people who might not use the system because the roads will be less congested. host: jaffle, florida. good morning. on our democrat's line. caller: good morning. i think first of all that it's a worthy cause to do this. but my point is, one of my concerns is, like the lady that called stating that the japanese, or should i say just the asians had come and forcibly blilt the system. now we're going to use the latin america labor force to build it. because if you look in florida at construction in the orlando area, a lot of them spanish work rers in there. and of course i'm not --
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nothing against them for being a part of the labor force. but the exploitive nature which we have used other people to come in and build these systems, it never really helps the locals or should i say the indigenous people of this country. the other thing is in regards to it, i was over in the illinois area in the southern part afillinois, and rooneds the madison county area of southern illinois, and it links with st. louis, missouri with the loss of jobs in the auto industry. i thought it would be a good idea to -- they have the facility for building the rail system, and i never heard you say anything about when it came to it. you mentioned it being a global effort. host: we'll leave it there. guest: well, what i'd like to
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address that question, and let me just -- about the jobs part of it. we're going to have a problem, but it's going to be a good problem to have. we're going to have jobs looking for people. and we're going to be talking about forward looking clean energy jobs. so this is new to the united states. so we're talking about a whole new sector. it's a good problem to have jobs looking for people. host: the vice president of policy for the american public transportation association. thanks for coming in. guest: thank you very much. host: coming up, we'll look at the issues laid out through the speech this week by president obama. but before that, a look at this week through cartoons.
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host: our guest, kevin kerry, education sector. guest: woor a nonpartisan think tank here in washington, d.c. we work on k-12 and higher education issues. host: how much did the president discuss during the state of the union? guest: a small amount. host: are you surprised about that? guest: there's a lot going on these days. we've got health care, wars abroad, budget deficit. so the president has said that education is one of his major domestic priorities. and the things he said i think were important. host: one of the things he talked about was that of educational reform. he talked about the idea of
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rewarding success. we have a bit of that type and want to show it to you and get you to respond to it. >> this year we've broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. and the idea here is simple. instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform. reform that raises student achievement, inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young americans from rural communities to the inner city. in the 21st century, the best anti poverty program around is a world-class education. [applause]ñi
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in this country, the suck says of our children cannot be-- success of our children cannot depend on where they live. we will work to expand these reforms to all 50 states. host: two major themes. i believe the first part of it is called race to the top. what is that guest: so the race to the top program was created as part of the stimulus package thazz passed earlier this year. this is a $4.35 billion incentive program where the president and the secretary of education have laid out some pretty strict criteria for states to compete for the money. and they've been very clear that only states that implement a series of education reforms at the state level will be eligible for this money, and only the best applicants will win. host: if it's a competition, what is this competition based on? guest: there's four main criteria. states have to show that they
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are improving their academic standards and the assessment that goes with them. they have to make changes to their charter school laws, to charter schools are independently run, publicly financed schools. states have to remove any artificial barriers to charter schools expanding. states have to move ahead in the way they evaluate teachers in order to allow us to evaluate teachers at least in part based on how much their students learn. and states have to make an effort to turn around the chronically low performing schools that we know have been allowed to persist and be low performing for far too long. why was the president's thinking to frame this as a contest? guest: i think he's referring that there have been federal education programs for a long time back to the 1960s. but for missouri of those years, the -- most of those years the money has been
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distributed on a formula basis. it doesn't matter if you're doing a good job or bad job. this is an attempt to change that and distribute funning to states that are in a position to spend it well. host: is is there a model? has something like this ever been applied on a state level? guest: there are stincht states that have different elements in place. some states do a better job than others. i think what he is looking for is for states to adopt the best practices. and then later in his speech, he said this is also -- congress is overdue to revise the act, and so he wants to make those reforms a broader part of the law. host: what is going to be questions about legislature's mind about going into the reauthorization process? guest: it's a couple years overdue. the politics are tricky. this is the no child left behind. it's proved to be
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controversial. there are elements of both the left and the right that object to parts of the law. the teachers unions i think have been concerned about the testing provisions where some conservatives are concerned about federal, growing federal role in education. so i think those issues are going to come up. people are going to want to implufe the way that we identify schools, so we identify the schools that need to be turned around. and they want to mike sure that we provide them with enough money to get the job done. host: there those be drastic changes? guest: i suspect they will not be drastic changes. there's been a pretty consistent consensus going back to at least the first bush. they've all coal yes, sired around this idea that we ought to have standards for schools, we ought to know if students are learning. and if it turns out they're not learning, we ought to do something to make those schools better. host: we are going to talk
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about the president's education nishtiver. if you want to ask him questions, you can do so on the three lines that are on your screen. our first call is from west virginia. our democrat's line. caller: good morning. i am an educator. i teach in the elementary school. and teach fourth grade. the biggest problems that i see with education right now is that the test has become so important that we do not give the children a sound education. we teach to the test.
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now, i don't know about you, but when i grew up we didn't have this test and everything wasn't geared around that. i got an education that led me right on to college and led to a good life for me. but the problem that i see now is that we, as a society, we do not appreciate an education and that the children, when they come through, they do not appreciate an education. so when we talk about a test, we are teaching to the test. not what they need to know. another thing is that overcrowding. i have 27 fourth graders in my room. and it is tough to get around to especially some of the kids who are the lower functioning kids. it's tough for me to get around to them because i have to make a decision, and i hate to say
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it but i have to make a decision, who am i going to help the most? and i'd appreciate if you just give me a couple comments about that. guest: sure. a couple of things. it's very clear that in some places there has been this teaching to the fest where people have focused more on test taking skills and the test has become too much an important part of the school year. so one of the things i think we're going to try to do in the next version of no child left behind is to improve the quality of the test, so they reflect those things the child needs to know. there's no distance between your educational goal and the test that we give them at the end of the year. and to have high quality tests, more authentic test that get at the full range of student learnings. but i do think there needs to be a test at the end of the year. we have to have some sense whether or not students are
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learning. we know in many schools we know students have learned. in temples of resources and class size, absolutely. 27 students in a fourth grade class is way too many. and hopefully one of the things that states will be able to do is to bring those class sizes down and provide those students the education they need. host: can you give us what the test is? what ultimately does the test consist of? guest: it depends. every state is allowed to pick its own standards and its own test. so some states have betser tests than others. that's one of the things that people are thinking about moving away from. it doesn't make a lot of sense to have 50 different standards. i think fourth grade reading is pretty much fourth grade reading no matter where you're at. so it tends to be a combination of the fill in the bubble. we're still using that more often than we ought to.
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quite frankly. i think the kind of better test that the president is talking about investing in will be more essay based, more based on observations, a broader look at student achievement. host: cape cod, massachusetts. on our republican line. caller: good morning. the teacher, god bless him, from west virginia. answered my questions. and the gentleman's response was there were so some schools that did and do need attention. let me just say that the schools in cape cod, we have west virginia to cape cod, are suffering from the same problem. i offer as evidence that there was a tragic situation where a high school students were killed a while back. died in an unfortunate manner. and the newspaper had the ability for people to leave commends. and the class mates were leing comments about what grate kids
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these were and their attributes. and their ability to string words together were nonexistent. the spelling skills were not there. if the program had spell check, i don't know if it did or didn't, they didn't try to find it. it's absolutely tragic. those same kids would get a part time job and go into a corner grocery store, you would give them some money for your purchase, and it's painful to watch them figure out if you give them exact change. and they had to figure out how much money to give back. take a calculator away from this generation the last two or three, and these poor creatures are lost. they can't spell, can't add. they can't the anything. guest: i think that one thing we know is we can talk all we want about what the standards in our education system should be. but really, it's the world around us that creates the standards students are going to have to live up to. and those standards are
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increasingly high. we know that the global economy is making competition among workers, not just among states but between nations. so we have to have an education system that gives all children at least a fighting chance, which means, at the very least, literacy and new mexico rassy. but so much more in terms of math and science and the agent to go on to college. and succeeding college and get some kind of college degree. that goal is really what underpins the elementary and secondary education act. and, again, i think one of the major things that everybody agrees on is that we have to raise those standards higher so fewer students end up in that situation. host: are there starnts for teach every quality within the act? guest: that's a controversial issue. it depends what you mean by teacher quality. one of the things that's part of the race to the fopfwund or part of the competition is that states have to make progress in the way that they evaluate teachers, and that they have to consider student test scores as one part of a larger teacher
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evaluation. some people have said, and again there's been a lot of pushback from the teachers unions on this, who have said that's inappropriate. we should never evaluate teachers based on test scores. i disagree. i think we need to take student learning into evaluation. so that i think is one of the proposals that's on the table and i imagine one of the things that we'll have a lot of debate here. host: so what other factors would go into a teachers' quality, so to speak? guest: to be clear, you wouldn't look at the percent of students who pass the toast. what you would look at is how much growth students have made. and one of the good things about no child left behind is that for the first time we have annual testing in all grades 3-8. prior to that we couldn't answer that question about student growth. in addition, i think you need to look at classroom observations. we don't give the teachers the kind of feedback they need. and i think u of to look at the
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whole school, how everybody is doing to give teachers an incentive to cooperate with one another. host: what about salary? where are with we as far as teachers salary? in a sense, are they stable? are they improving, are they decreasing? guest: teachers salsrizz are stable but in the sense that they've basically kept up with inflation but not much more. so relative to other professionals, about half of all teachers have a master's degree and are all educated. relative to people of similar education, and frankly jobs that are similarly hard, teachers aren't paid that well. one might ask, we're putting all this money into our education system. it's because we're hiring more teachers over time. we still have the gentleman in south carolina with 27 students in his classroom. but the ratio has been stedly dropping. so we're hiring more teachers but we're not paying teachers
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more. host: as far as states, how are these states handling school budgets? are where are the cuts coming from? guest: teachers are getting laid off. i mentioned that the race to the top fund was part of the stimulus bill and that was $4.35 billion. but the stimulus bill provided over $80 million most to k-12 schools, it was designed to keep teachers from being laid off as part of the government's effort to kind of stop the bleeding during the economic crisis we had a year ago. but there are still teachers being laid off. a lot of states continue to be in siver budget crisis. and we know, even though it seems we've turned the corner on the economy, state andñi loc finances are going to be in bad shape for the next several years. host: go ahead. you're on. caller: good morning. i guess i'm a product of the first no child left behind which really occurred back in
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1957 when the russians launched sput nick, there seemed to be an impetus on education in the math and sciences. and it seems that no child could be wasted. so there was a lot of money and a lot of push put in to making us technology savvy. i was a math major and i've had a career in computer sciences because of the russian threat. we have a different type of threat today. back then, the threat was very tangible, we were all playing duck and cover, which is hiding underneath our desks for the atom bomb.çó so the teachers, our parents, everybody was in terror. cer4k91eát government. and recognizing the fact that we had to do more, and we could not afford to waste any minds. today, we have a different type of threat. but i don't get the sense that it is as palpable in the
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american society as the threat of nuclear weapons and space was, which provided the thrust for my education. guest: that's a great point. in federal involvement in k-12 education, u really can trace irrelevant back to when sput nick was launched. and president eisenhower was behind that. a lot of people went into our universities that helped build the core of scientists. and while it may not be sort of a small round metal ball oib bitting the erds, i do think that the need for beder education and the need for more students into the math and science classes is grooter today. and it goes back to the global economy that we live in, increasing competition from around the world. if we want to maintain our standard of living and quality of life here in the united
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states, we can't wait for those other countries to catch up. we need to be investing along with them. host: ask we introduce another factor. the president also spoke about college, and college costs. here's what he had to say. >> in this economy, a high school paloma no longer guarantees a good job. that's why i urge the senate to follow the house and pass a bill that will revite lies our community colleges which are the career pathway to the children of so many working families. [applause] to make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans. instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of
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college and increase pell grants. [applause] and let's tell another 1 million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10% of their income on student loans and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years, and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service. because in america no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. and, by the way, it's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs because they, too, have a responsibility to help solve this problem.ñi host: let's start with the student loan program. how -- what is the concern from the president about the current
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state of the program and what does he want to do to change it? guest: right now, we have a student loan program where we pay private banks to offer student loans. so we pay them in the sense that we subdies the profit they make on those loans and we pay them in the sense that we guarantee the loans so if the student defaults the government pays it off. it's been a good deal for the banks for a long time. the president's proposal is to take $87 billion in subsidies that are currently going to for-profit banks and use it to instead have the government, the federal government provide loans drktly, which it's actually been doing successfully for a numb of years now, and take the savings, increase pell grants, invest in community colleges that invest in increasing graduation rates. host: as far as the reason of cutting out the middle man, he thinks the government can do it asñi efficiently as the outside bank can? guest: there is a federal direct loan program now that
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has been in place since the 1990s. it has been very successful. the government is good at borrowing money at low rates. it's not particularly complicated to lend it out to students and have them pay it back. 'g the new amount of loans that would come in, the government is capable of handling that new amount of loans? guest: i believe so. the government is already administratoring millions of loans now. so it's in the process of alerting schools that this change is potentially under way. there are thousands of colleges in america that are already administratoring the federal direct loan program. host: are there votes to get this done? guest: it's passed the house already. so as with many things in american life, it all depends on the senate. the bill has been essentially waiting in the senate for the health care situation to resolve itself. and that's taken a little longer than everyone has anticipated. so i believe the support is there. i think there's a broad consensus that we -- this money
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is better spent on community colleges than subsidizing banks. but the politics is always a little tricky. some of those banks have senators representing them here in congress. so like anything, i think it will take some work. but i think the administration can get this done. host: as far as community colleges, the president is looking to strengthen that, what needs to be done as far as making community colleges better? guest: the two things go together. so the funding for community colleges coming from the student loan reform. so if we don't reform the student loan industry, we wopet be able to pay for community colleges. what the president i think warrants to do with community colleges, as he say, they're a point afsenator kerry sess for millions of students -- 45 million of all students who start in this country start in community colleges. with so many people being laid off, community colleges are also a place br workers are being trained. unfortunately, they've gotten less money from the public than
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say the flagship four-year universities. and they haven't always been successful. a lot of students go to community colleges and don't earn degrees and don't transfer to four-year institution. so the idea is to raise expectations, set the bar higher, and then also provide them the resources so they can meet those expectations. host: what do you make about the president's idea for paying back student loans? guest: i like the fact that he put a little of the responsibility on the colleges. the price of colleges doubled after the price of inflation. college is rising in cost faster than health care costs are. any parent who has a kid going to college can tell you the sticker shock of trying to write those checks. and safrlt, more and more students are having to borrow. a higher percent of students borrow for college now than ever before, and the average amount of the loans is higher
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now. it's becoming unmanageable. default rates are rising sharply. so what the president is proposing is that you only have to pay a certain perge of your income back. so let's say you want to go into teaching. we just talked about we need great teachers. teachers don't make the kind of money that bankers make. your initial salary is not that much. you've got these student loans. you only have to pay 10% of your salary, irrespective of how big that loan is. host: according to the stud, it said in 2008 67% of students in a four-year college had student loan debt. the average debt level rose to about $23,in 2008. >> those are accurate. that 23,000 is up just a couple years ago. so we know that 67% used to less than half. it used to be most students didn't borrow.
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we've seen a big increase in lending. host: what type of interest is usually attached? guest: it goes up and down. it depends whether or not -- the subdiesed programs are usually low. but we know students are borrowing on the private market. you can only borrow so much money through the federal loan program, and college has gotten so expensive that students are going into the private market and many of them are borrowing at credit card rates. host: and we'll go back to college. but as far as colleges are concerned, what arguments do they make for the outpacing of the cost of college to that of the national rate of inflation? guest: i don't think they have many good arguments. they want to climb their way up. they want bigger buildings, nice sports teams. they want to pay themselves more money. and everybody needs to go to college. so they kind of have students over a barrel. what are you going to do, not
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go to college? so they continue to raise prices. the one thing i will say in their defense is that a lot of public universities have seen their budgets cut by the state. so we see this in california, where the state of california is in a terrible fiscal situation. they cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of the university of california budget. and the chancellor had to raise tuition by 30% in the middle of the semester. host: kevin carrie is our guest. thanchingtse for waiting on our democrat's line. caller: i wanted to to make a comment concerning the schools here in new york, what the mayor proposed to do here. now, the schools here in new york are already overcrowded. the mayor is claiming he is cutting his budget. and he proposed now to close down 19 schools over two years in new york, over 8,000 teachers. the schools are already overcrowded. where is the stimulus money? how is it he's going to be able to close 19 schools? what's going to happen to these kids?
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guest: well, new york city is actually an area that has made strides in teacher pay. when mayor bloomberg new york teachers were paid worse than teachers in the surrounding suburbs. there have been increases for pay. he and his chancellor there, their administration has been controversial. but new york city is a big school system with over 1 million students just in new york. there are more students than there are people in american states. so as the mayor deals with the fiscal crisis that i think mayors around the country are dealing with, what i hope he will do in closing schools, is close the low performing schools and find a better place for students where they'll have a better chance to learn. host: tom, good morning. caller: good morning. i live in new jersey where basically all the money for education goes for three things, teachers salary, teachers, and administration, and all their pensions.
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out of $1 spent, maybe 10 cents, maybe 6 cents gets to the students. it's embarrassing for unions to suck up all of the money for education. and that's what's been going on in new jersey. that's what's going on in new york, in connecticut. all these unions. california. that's why they're sinking. that's why the average property tax is $10,000 in new jersey. it's an embarrassment. when my daughter has a friend in georgia come utch to our house from georgia, sit at the table, where down there, their property taxes are $3,000. she's getting the same education as my daughter up here and she is just as smart. i don't understand why these unions are tying the kids' hands. and that's what they're doing. and they cry behind the same little thing that, well, it's for the children. when are we going to wake up and start realizing, like you
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mentioned a minute ago, that the salaries aren't the same as a banker? . . . >> other teachers, because they are protected by unions in many cases, are not doing a good job yet continue to get paid well and day in the classroom.
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we need more teacher pay but more accountability for performance for tell hthem. host: richard, virginia. caller: i have two questions. my grandson is in the fourth gra grade, and since he started they have been telling him they are not going to teach him how to write cursive. why doesn't he need to know how to write his name? the second question is why would anybody want to send their kid to college and owe all that money when there are no jobs when they come out? i will take the answers off line. guest: i think a lot of schools are wrestling with how to adapt to changes in technology. when i went to school we had a fewç computers and we would go see once a year. now they are everywhere. students carry them around in their pockets so we are making a transitionç to a digital world
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and some schools may think things like cursive don't fit and we needq tow3 spend more ti teaching students how to find information on the worldwide web. the job market is tough now, but we do know that college does pay in the long run. people who go to college make much more money than people who don't go to college. basically, af you look at all the gains in the economy and increases in salaries the last 20 or 30 years, they have all gone to college educated workers. people with only a high school degree have fallen way back. so i think the economy will rebound and i do think that college is still a good investment. host: what is the administration stand on special education? guest: the administration did, and congress did increase funding for special education as part of the stimulus bill. we will see a new budget in a couple of days and we will know
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better about where they stand on special education. congress did reauthorize the big federal special education law a few years ago and so -- it is not expected to come up again for a while. we haven't heard all that much from the administration on special education yet. host: dallas, texas, jacob on the democrats line. caller: hello, how are you doing? my question is, i'm a fellow student at the time and i see there is a big gap between high school and higher-level education. there is a big gap in education for the student. i think that institutions, instead of talking about -- they make a lot of people worry. the kids worry about finals, about exams, a lot more than they should. it is the same in high school
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and lower education schools and higher education schools -- i'm sorry, right now. i'm a little nervous. this is my first time. what i'm getting at is everybody is saying that the lower education schools and elementary high, senior high there is a way in the problem they teach and it is in the higher institutions as well. like teachers, the quality of teachers in higher institutions aren't the quality of learning is not picked up in higher institutions. it is just that there is more information given out and more stress that has already been built up from high school. guest: you make a couple of great points. one, a lot of students, when they make the transition from high school to college struggle. we know that almost half of them have to take remedial classes. they have to take high school classes in college because they didn't learn the basic reading
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and math skills they needed to learn in high school even though they have a high school diploma. at the same time we have given the colleges a free pass teaching over the years. we assumed if we can just get students into college they will succeed but we know into is not true. a lot of staopbts drop out particularly the first two semesters. many have graduation rates at less than 50% and it is because sometimes colleges don't do enough to concentrate on their own responsibilities to teach students. they are more interested in research or intercollegiate athletics and you do not have the high quality of teaching for students especially from high schools where they department didn't get a good level of preparation. colleges need to provide better counselling to students. they need to do some of the same things we need to do in k-12, smaller classes, more expectation andç accountabilit
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to professors. we require k-12 teachers to be license and transcend to teach there. but college teachers don't need that. a lot of them areçt( teaching without taking education classes. host: someone off twitter says many teachers contribute portions each year for supplies, books out of those small salaries. my final year was $6,000 for band program. guest: that is common and it is a tragedy. this goes to there -- we have to put resources and expectations together. so we need to increase funding particularly for the highest poverty schools and technically theç teachers in those high poverty schools. no teacher should have to pay money out of pocket for supplies. i know a lot of them do because they are dedicated to the students and want to help them. but there is not a fair system of financing education. host: essentially i go to my
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supplier and say i need notebooks, pens and they say no money for that. guest: right. >> toledo, ohio. caller: i'm a dislocated auto worker and i got into a program that there is a smaller city outside of cleveland and the board of education there decided to put on a green energy program where it was going to last six months. and when you were finished you were supposed to be able to pass an exam for north american board of certified energy practitioners. but they spent more time teaching about osha. they wanted us to learn spanish. and have to sit there and watch al gore's movie. now, i believe that alternative
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energy is the greatest idea and that is why i was interested. but it was so political. and any way, only six out of 30 students, including the instructor, could not pass that board exam when they were finished with the class. anyway, just seems like there's going to be a lot of scamming going on because whoever is running that program there is way out there. i'm just more worried about the people scamming the taxpayers that say that they can put on a program and can't accomplish it. guest: well, that is absolutely something we should be concerned about. unfortunately, there are a lot of people in positions like yours where they have lost jobs and need to go back to our higher education institutions to be retrained. but it is interesting we talked earlier in the program about all of this federal effort to have some level of accountability for the k-12 schools to look at test
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scores and if only six out of 30 are passing for the k-12 we say that is not good enough. we have to make changes. we don't have anything like that for the colleges and universities. if you do a poor job, if you make people watch al gore instead of giving them good workplace skills there are no consequences for that. so i think this needs to be a change in the way that we think about how we regulate and how we provide funding to our college institutions so more don't end up in that situation that you are in. host: does the public school system grasp vocational training or more to college preparatory? guest: there's been more move to college preparatory and a good reason, a higher percentage go to college. 75% of all students who graduate from high school will go on to some kind of post-secondary education the first couple of
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years. what a lot of employers tell us is the things the students need to succeed in college are pretty much the same things they need to succeed in the workforce. they need good verbal and math skills, be able to solve problems. so, there is a role for vocational education in high school and there are still successful programs out there. >> but we want to make sure we don't just prepare students for the first job but the job after that and job after that because in a modern economy people change careers and jobs. host: ma srer -- maneerva, new york. stpwhrao i'm a librarian in upstate new york. we have about 150 students k to 12. sounds like an ideal teaching environment and i have three points i would like to make. one is with our standards. we measure students on a one through four system and i feel like a lot of disproportionate
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amount of ofç time is spent on ones and twos to bring up to three and three and four are not getting as much time so they can go with their education because the schools are measured on thoseç ones and twos. number two when kids come into kindergarten you can pick out those that will be successful and we need a funded pre-k program so we can close the gap when the learning curve, you know, they learn more at a young age. the other thing is grading. we still grade on a through f and students can pass when they get a d. that doesn't mean they have mastered the level. so we need to look at the grading system and what kids know when they are passed to the next grade and they need to be passed when they master it, not just because theyw3 met a minim requirement. thank you very much. guest: well, you make some good points. i think that we have to make
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choices about the students that we will focus on. while i don't want to ignore the students getting a four, the students atko one or two, if we don't help them move up to proficiency they will be in that situation we heard about a while ago all the way through high school and college and not able to read and write. you are right about preschool. the president didn't mention it but it is a student reform he will take,mentes to take some of the money moved away from subsidies to banks and use to create new federal investments it early childhood education because the research tells us that a dollar spent when students are young pays off multiple times over going on in the future. and to the last point, we have to have high standards. we can fool ourselves by having low standards for students and pass along the students with tkfrpblt's but eventually they will be out in the real world and out of college and they are going to find out they didn't
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learn what this need to know. host: rocky mount, north carolina on the democrats line. beverly. tkpwhrao i would like to talk about the education system in the united states. i'm a product of the 1950's and 1960's and when we went to school back then nobody banged it in your head -- i'm from new york originally. when i was in school i went with every nationality in the world and our teachers had to accommodate everybody. and we strived to get an a so we didn't get an f. if you were kind of weak in math they helped you with the math. if you were we can in reading they helped you with it. but today both of my children went to college. i went to community college, they went to university. my daughter now is 43 and she's
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getting ready to get her master's. my son was -- his class was the graduating class of the new millennium high school and the graduating class of the new millennium college. he could have had a great career in basketball but he chose to go to a preppy college and heq choe to be aoç double major. because when he looked at the workforce and what everybody in his high school was looking at going and favorite colleges they wanted to go to, he wanted to go into something that he could have some business experienceç coming out and some management skills coming out. host: final thoughts. guest: you have really described the american dream for education. people of all nationalities coming together. our public schools being a place of social integration, a place whereçzd studeiziuçokt( learn irrespective of where they come from they are all part of one
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andq parentsqxd making a better world for their children. you went to community college, your son went on to a university. the danger, i think, is that that dream is going to be lost for too many students, that we won't set the standards high enough and we are going to segregate the schools so that those of different kinds don't learn together and college won't be affordable enough for students to make the choices your son made. i think you have described a whole suite of issues that our congressmen and president need to pay attention to in the coming years. >> the policy director for if you want to check out the research and work you can go to the c-span website.ç thank you for your time. coming up we will spend the final 45 minutes or so talking about the drug war that is going on in mexico. our guest is the former foreign minister under president vicente
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f fox. he will be joining us right after this.bççç ca ca >>ç american jazzw3ç can be a truplt for spreading good willw overseas.ç >> i think çso.çót( over there jazzç is strong lik the masons. it isç just like a religion. >> they go in forñr it big? >> they love it. >>ç he was withoutççt(ç que important figure in jazz inç theççççç 20thç] >> the newçw3 buyingokw3çç o armstrong on c-span.ççw7ç >>ç this weekend onççççóçwç politit1'w3 cartoons of dr. çs.
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on how the growth of muslim middle class could end religious extremism. e
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signed and made public. never explicit accommodation keel with the drug cartels whereby if they behaved, the mexican police would control them, would regulate them. administer them. but knowing that it is impossible to eradicate drug trafficking through mexico. it is important to recall the most important drug in terms of the money you make on this business is cocaine. and mexico produces no cocaine. colombia produces 85% of the world's cocaine.
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the cocaine from colombia goes through mexico to the united states. we consume very little cocaine in mexico. so, the issue really is to ensure that the drugs that come from south america get to the united states without causing too much damage in mexico. that is really what traditional mexican policy has been about and what traditional u.s. tacit acceptance of this policy has been about. because the united states knows very well as long as americans consume drugs in the quantities they do, there's going to be a supply for them from somewhere in the world. now, american society seems to have made its peace with the level of drugs it consumes today. this is not seen by anybody abroad as a major central priority of any government. at least not since the reagan administration. and even they made more of a fuss about it and mrs. reagan's
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just say no campaign than doing anything on the ground in schools, et cetera. chris: we have someone who is asking on twitter something about plan colombia. can you give an explanation of what it is and what has been the result of it? guest: i talk about that in the essay foreign policy. plan colombia is a u.s. aid package set up under the clinton administration and has been continued under the bush and obama administrations to help colombia try to reduce cocaine cult vacation, cocoa leaf cultç vacation and cocaine production and deal with the very large guerrilla groups that have been plaguing colombia politics 30 years. it has been very successful in terms of reducing violence in colombia, of reducing kidnapping, extortion, guerrilla
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attacks, even dismantling the paramilitary groups but it hasn't been very successful in reducing the acreage that is cultivated with cocaine leaf. for practical purposes a little more than 10 years after in began, colombia produces today just about the same amount of co-ka leaf and cocaine as 10 years ago but the damage is lesser to colombian live in general. that is what we want for mexico. let the drugs flow through but reduce the collateral damage. chris: our first call is from mexico. anthony on with jorge castaneda. john: good morning, jorge. guest: good morning. john: thanks for c-span. it is our ear to the government and i really appreciate it. i was in new mexico and a
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masonry contractor in southern california, new mexico and florida. and i'm telling you, we are not winning any war on drugs. the mexicans laugh. they send the white bullets over to tell us, they laugh when they take their money and wire it through western union to their families, which must take a toll on our economy because the money doesn't come back. and if you put me in charge, i would stop every drug coming across the stupid border from el paso to san diego. why can't you guys do it? guest: well, yes, i'm here. you think the united states should do that, well you have got a very good point. and then you should have voted and supported governments over the past 40 years which might have done that in the united
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states. it is not in mexico's interests to do that to be quite blunt about it. this is a u.s. issue. our problem in mexico is to ensure that if the cocaine comes through -- and we do our best on the southern border to stop it from coming in from colombia. but what we can't stop is to ensure it goes through mexico with the least damage to mexico. it is your responsibility to stop it at your border and i agree with you, you should. i don't see americans wanting to do so, quite honestly. i'm sure there are many who think like you do but there seem to be more who think differently, which is why the united states hasn't sealed off the border not only not from el paso but from brownsville to el paso. there is the other side of the border. it is a 2,000-mile border and a long border to chose off. but if you are willing to spend the money and make the effort to do that, best of luck to you. chris: keowa, washington next.
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independent line. stpwhrao good morni john: i would like to ask the individual why it is his understanding why our nationñr doesn't engage our own citizenry to the level that we expect other nations to engage their citizenry in regard to this drug probl problem. our nation predominantly is creating the need for it. other nations' citizens are supplying it. why don't we apply the same pressure and intensity of effort in our own land? thank you. guest: well, that is an excellent question. as a matter of fact, it is a question mexican governments have been asking american governments at least since i can remember, sense 1969 when the first crisis occurred with president nixon who had recently opinion inaugurated. i think that the answer lies in
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the fact that highly industrialized societies like the united states an western europe, now eastern europe, russia in particular, have a certain degree of drug consumption. there is a certain percentage of people in these societies, big middle class societies with a lot of money flowing around, a lot of free time, a lot of difficulties within that major middle class life that they have achiev achieved, and these societies do not want to pay the price of reducing drug demands systematically. this implies testing everybody everywhere all the time. it implies policing, it implies invasion of privacy. it implies having much more tighter security on the border in the case of the united states, also in europe. it implies penalizing people who do consume drugs or sell drugs. these were the rockefeller laws in new york dating back to the
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1970's which led the united states to have two million people in jail far more per capita than the countries of western europe. well, the u.s. has been moving away from those policies and attitudes and more toward the european policies the last few years. this is a decision for americans to make. i quite frankly agree with the current stance which is to sort of live and let live. there are people in the united states who want to do drugs, let them do them as long as they don't generate damage to others in society. and the damage comes from the illegal nature of drugs. it doesn't come from the drugs themselves. but all of this is a u.s. decision. what you can't expect, i think, is for people from the rest of the world to not see that the united states is a bit of in two minds about this issue. chris: lindsey, california, democrats line, ralph. john: thank you for taking my
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call. i would like to ask jorge what he thinks about if we legalize marijuana in the united states in terms of what the up side would be and what the down side would be. thank you. guest: well, that is a very good question especially coming from california. my sense is that even now -- and i know this is the case in los angeles -- medical use marijuana in california in particular is really so easily available. i understand there more than 1,000 dispensaries in los angeles alone, more than the number of public schools in los angeles where you can get medical marijuana practically without any restrictions. you don't even need a prescription. you just need a recommendation if i'm not mistaken. and among the causes are chronic pain or anxiety. frankly i have both all day long every day so i'm not sure that that is restrictive. what i don't understand is we in
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mexico just 100 miles south of los angeles in tijuana should be dieing to stop marijuana from mexico entering the united states and thp once it enters for all practical purposes it can be sold legally. i think quite honestly that the united states and mexico, we can't do it land, should move in the direction of decriminalizing the use of marijuana. at least start with that and see what happens. maybe consumption will go up, maybe it won't. maybe people will move on to other drugs, maybe they waofrplt maybe by reducing or eliminating the illegal nature, the illicit nature of the business we can eliminate many of the collateral damages that are brought on by the business. portugal has de crimincrimina d use of all drugs, possession, purchase and sale of all drugs several years ago. consumption has gone down. it is not a junky paradise.
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violence has gone down. it is quite a success story want granted it is a small country, somewhat isolated. not the same as the united states. but i think we should move in the direction of decriminalization. maybe drug by drug, start with marijuana, see what happens. the worst that can happen is we made a mistake and go back. it is a little like the voluntevolst everyone d act repealing alcohol. he was not sure what was going to happen and it worked and the alternative which was keeping prohibition was a disaster. chris: factor in that the president last year said that he was not going to seek to arrest those who use medical marijuana as long as they followed state laws. guest: exactly. and if i understand, the most recent state to have enacted legislation allowing medical marijuana is new jersey certainly with a far more restrictive blueprint than
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california and i have also heard there are another four or five states that have laws on the ballot for popular initiative or state assemblies this year in the united states. so, when president obama quite rightly says if a state accepts medical marijuana, whatever its legislation says, he is not going to apply federal laws in that state, i think that is an open avenue for decriminalization throughout the united states, which i think would be what we should all try, including mexico, because you see 16,000, 17,000 people have died in mexico in the last three years with the war on drugs. there are gangland killings every day. we are doing had to stop drugs essentially from entering the united states. at the same time the united states is increasingly and positively -- i support this wholeheartedly -- decriminalizing the consumption
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and possession of drugs. there is something wrong there. it doesn't make any sense. chris: come piled facts from area sources, about 2,500 deaths the first 11 months of 2010. related to the drug war. 5,300 in 2008. close to 7,000 deaths in 2009. those are from a variety of sources. our guest is jorge cast a made tka former foreign minister in mexico teaches at new york university has a me piece looking at this very issue. it is called what spanish quagmire. new york city, you are next. on the republican line. lewis, go ahead. john: thank you, pedro. first what is the absurd assumption you said mexico had -- you mentioned two. i would like to mention a third
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one and what is the purpose of the president for declaring war on the drugs at this time? thank you kindly. guest: thank you. those are two excellent questions. the first one i was getting to the third one when we started discussing the other issues. the third one was the mexican state or mexican government had lost control of broad sectors of mexican territory, law enforceme enforcement, law and order, security, et cetera. and that something had to be done about this. this is a little more true than the two first false premises. but it has to be placed in the historical context. the issue is not whether the cartels existed in mexico and did control certain towns, certain parts of certain states, whether they had corrupted and bought off certain police forces and certain mayors, et cetera. the issue is whether there was so much more of that than before that it justified a full-fledged
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war. and my opinion is that there was not that much more than before. those of us who lived through the 1970's and 1980's in mexico and remember how the entire federal security police had to be dismantled in 1985, remember how the crisis we had with the united states in 1985 over the torture and execution of a d.e.a. agent in mexico, those of us who recall the enormous marijuana plantations in the early 1980's in the northern states find it difficult to believe with all of the corrupt governors and military officers the drug czar in 1988 had to be arrested after a tipoff by the d.e.a. because he was not an antidrug czar, he was one of the drug lords and this was a hi high-level military officer so that premise doesn't hold water either. why did president calderon do this? i reached the conclusion with my co-auf
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co-author of the book i published that he did it for political reasons. that he had a very tough election in 2006 in july, he barely won by less than a half percentage point. many people thought he had stolen the election. i don't think so. i think he won fair and square in a squeaker, absolutely, but there are squeakers all the time everywhere. but he was felt so insecure and felt the need to legitimize himself so direly that he decided to take what he thought at the time probably was an easy quick step to make himself appear presidential and don the habits of a commander in chief. turned out three years later we are still in the mess. chris: you talk about in the piece as a side issue when it comes to the border issues and dealing with the cartels the gun issue. you say the gun dealer next door. give a little explanation of the point you are trying to make. guest: again, this has toçó do
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with what both sides of the border want. in mexico the government and many mexicans say partly is true that much of the violence in mexico comes from the fact that most of guns with which that violence take places comes from the united states. and it is true it is very easy to purchase guns in the united states and easy to ship them over the border one way or the other to mexico and toes guns do fuel a certain amount of the violence. but i also try to debunk the myth that the violence comes from the guns. why? firstly because you can get guns just about anywhere in the world. they are a functionib bun eligie commodity. you can get them on the black market anywhere. secondly, if they are not exported from the united states to mexico through legal crossing points then they will be ex-ported through illegal crossing points. the notion that you can shut down the border from north to south is, in my view, as silly a
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notion as the one that you can shut the border down from north to south. in addition, again, if people say in mexico if the united states did something about its weapons trade or gun business, then there would be less violence in mexico. well, yes, but the problem is the united states is not going to do anything about it. it is not going to repeal the second amendment and it is not going to even reenact the assault weapons ban from 1994 that was sign bid clinton and expired in 2004 that bush let expire and president president obama has been very explicit he is not going to send up for reratification. so if it rains there wouldn't be a desert. except it is not going to rain in the desert. that is why the desert is a desert. chris: tarrytown, louisiana. on the independent linement terry is next. john: good morning. a reporter once asked john
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gotti, the infamous massiveia chief, what his organization's involvement in the drug business was and he said we aren't involved in the drug business. we can not compete with the american government. i would like you to address, sir -- and i can back this up with numerous news articles -- the c.i.a.'s involvement in the drug busine business. they do indeed fund a lot of their black box operations through the involvement through drug, the drug import business. could you address c.i.a. involvement in the drug business as an active participant and keeping the drugs flowing in to this country? guest: well, i'm familiar with the articles or news reports
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that did come out from central america in the mid 1980's about how the c.i.a. was apparently using drugs to finance the contrast in nicaragua and some of the other count counterrevolutionary forces in he will solve door -- el salvador and honduras. i recall some of the investigations i think congress carried out. i don't know any more about it than that. and i must say while i believe most of those articles were probably accurate, i don't think this has been a systematic policy of the u.s. government and i certainly don't see it as a policy today because i don't see who they would be funding in latin america at least by using that type of policy. what of course you could argue and you may have a better case there is what is going on in afghanistan today where in a few weeks or a couple of months
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there will be 100,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan, which is of course the world's number one producer of heroin. and i'm not saying that the u.s. army there, the u.s. forces there, actively encourage the cult vacation of poppy and production of heroin, but it doesn't seem to me they are involved in any eradication campaign. if anything they have sort of an accommodation with the afghan peasants and afghan drug lords who cultivate and grow the poppy and produce the opium and the heroin that come from it. it seems strange to me to think of a country like afghanistan with 100,000 u.s. troops still being the number one producer of heroin in the world unless the u.s. has tacitly decided to let that happen, which is probably a wise idea. chris: when we hear about violence on the border there,
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one place that seems to come up a lot is the el paso and juarez, mexico, area. why is that? >> it is a strange situation because there is an enormous amount of violence in juarez on the mexican side. it has become the center of this war. it has been under occupied now by the phoefrbgsen military and -- mexican military and police over a year. the violence has not diminished despite the army's presence. there are killings between the drug gangs, cartels, every day. there are days when 20, 30 people are shot, killed in the streets of the city. on the other hand, el paso, on the other side, is one of the safest cities in the united states. so, the first point is why doesn't the violence spill over significantly. not that every now and then there may be an issue but by and
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large el paso is a very safe community. why doesn't it spill over? because there is no war being waged in el paso over drugs. this is in juarez but there isç no war being waged by the u.s. government or texas state government or el paso community. as a matter of fact a couple of el paso eldermen asked, had legislation approved in the city council to allow medical marijuana inxd el paso. it was then vetoed by i think the mayor or the governor of texas. but what the el paso community wanted exactly was to liberalize consumption and possession of marijuana and some other drugs because it is such a safe community it seemed like the best idea. so, yes, there is violence on the mexican said but the issue is is this a war because there is violence or is there violence because there is a war? s juarez seems to indicate the war comes first.
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chris: lumpkin texas is next. democrats line. james, go ahead. john: yes. i hear this gentleman up here saying that, oh we should protect our borders, we should do this and that. we are giving so much money to that phony mexican government over there, there have been dictator ships the whole team. they are the most crooked government. i was born and raised on a ranch outside of laredo and my family, my grand father all was raised on this same ranch. i'm 80 years old, corine veteran, veteran -- tkroeen veteran. they were coming across that border like little ants. nobody cared. look at the sophisticated tunnels. it had to take machinery to do
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that.ñi chris: leave it there. guest: well, i think the gentleman makes self points which perhaps other people feel. it is important to clarify a few of them. i think that, yes, mexico for many, many years was a sort of benign dictatorship or authoritarian regime but fortunately that began to come to an end in the 1990's. and by the year 2000 the party that had governed mexico for the previous seven years was voted out of office, two new presidents have come in since from different parties. i think corruption since the 1990's has diminished enormously. i think that democracy has brought a lot of good things to mexico. it has also brought some of the sunshine which lets you see things which happened before. but you couldn't see them before. and i think in the end all of
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this is positive. but, obviously, it has some drawbacks. the gentleman also points to the issue traditionally mexico has received no support from the united states from the u.s. government in terms of drug enforcement or other matters or a very small scale. president bush began with president calderon the maradot initiative in 2007 where the u.s. now transfers about $350 million a year for three years to mexico for drug enforcement. it is helicopters, technology, training, weapons, et cetera. president obama has continued this policy. i'm not sure it is a great idea because it is not enough money to make a difference and it doesn't really involve responsibility by the united states. this is something the mexican government likes to play with and say well, this shows that the americans now finally accept their responsibility. the united states hasn't
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accepted responsibility for consumption of drugs for 30 years. it is no big deal. i'm not sure this initiative makes a lot of accepts. and it gets the u.s. government involved in training and financing and supporting mexico,army forces that object many occasions violate human rights in ways that human rights watch, amnesty international and other organizations have denounced. if i were president obama, i would have taken a closer look at what bush was doing in mexico also, not just in iraq and not just in afghanistan and not just everywhere else. i would have looked at mexico, two. host: rancho mirage, california. john: yes, edge they should have a death penalty especially the government. i believe that they are very corrupt. my son was murdered in mexico and they insisted that i pay $20,000 to release his body because of the fact they had to
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e exhume the body, sent it to texas and we did spend the money. then they wanted another $10,000. that was like ransom. they were asking for ransom to bring my son back to the united states. and my son was a marine and i'm sorry, i think your government is very corrupt because you can pay off the judges and they will let any prisoner out but i think your country should have the dealt permanent like we -- death penalty because they can buy their way with out in mexico. i know that for a fact. guest: well, i certainly feel terrible about the story of the woman who just spoke mention pws her son and i'm sure it happened and i'm sure there are other cases like that and i'm sure that we in mexico do have to continue strong efforts in combatting corruption which, as i said, have been going on for nearly 20 years with a lot of improvement though obviously not enough. the death penalty fortunately in my view was abolished in mexico
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about four years ago and had in fact not been used since the 1940's. and actually in the united states you don't really have the death penalty. there are some states like texas that do and there are many others now a don't. and it is less and less used but the united states together with iran, china and russia and cuba are the only countries in the world that do. none. countries of western europe or canada or others have the death penalty and i'm very happy that in mexico we don't have it and i hope and i will do everything i can to ensure that we don't have it again and not be used. i don't think it is a great idea. chris: the final point the myth he talks about the neighbors can break their drug habit. we are returning out of time but if you want to elaborate on that. guest: i did touch on it a little earlier. the point there being that everyone acknowledges that as long as u.s. demand for drugs remains what it is the supply
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for the demand will originate somewhere and some of it will come through mexico if only because we share this 2,000-mile border with the united states and we also share a border with the countries or with the region of the world where those drugs are produced. south america, central mark. et cetera. i see no indication -- and the numbers don't show any indication -- that the u.s. is willing to spend money and time and effort to reduce its consumption, its demand for drugs. i see no reason to believe the u.s. will do so in the future any more than it has done so at any time in the past since the 1960 1960's, when drugs became part of a certain mainstream of american life. there are people who think this is a terrible situation, there are people who think it is ok like myself. there are people who think it is a great situation. well, that is their opinion. what i think is increasingly difficult to argue is that there is any consensus or willingness
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in american society to declare a war on drug demand or reduction or drug consumption in the united states through testing, through invasion of privacy, through clampdowns on trade, on everything. is the u.s. willing to send the army into the projects in chicago, into the projects and tenements in new york, in los angeles, into east los angeles to do away with drug consumption there? i don't think so. i don't see any reason to believe that this will happen. so, the notion that maybe one day the u.s. will do this and when it does then the supply of drugs coming through mexico from colombia or even being produced in mexico will dry up because demand has dried up. i quite frankly that is an ahistorical, foolish and e ignorant view of history. chris: chapel hill, tennessee,
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independent line, tony. john: thank you and thank god for c-span. i'm so tkhrad we have it. -- glad we have it. my question is, by the way the people interested there is a back by gary westbound called dark alliance. it will tell you a lot about the drugs passed through the country and within more thing, if we do stop the war on drugs, the sheriff deputy and police department and c.i.a. and f.b.i. won't be able to confiscate people's houses and money and property and they are going to be out of money. and that will be a big problem. people, marijuana is not harmful. i don't care what anybody tells i. thank you so much for c-span. chris: let's take one more call and that is chicago, illinois, object the democrat line. lucille. john: thraeufpg you f -- thank
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you for taking my call. i agree with your guest. he has been the most -- i beg your pardon. chris: go ahead. chris: john: he has been the most honest person i have ever heard on any program anywhere about this problem. i agree that the way we can really help mexico is concentrate on our country, the consumption in this country. if we stop the consumption here, no matter what it takes but stop it, it will automatically help mexico and everywhere else. thank you for taking my call. >> final thoughts. >> well, i think that our last question was very clear about this. if as she said quite rightly, we, meaning the united states, stop consumption. but the answer is no, you ñrwon. because you don't want to. because if you wanted to you would have done so already.
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this is something american society does not want to pay for. it is not just taxes. it is money and it is also everything that goes with it. more militarization of society, bigger police forces. more people in jail. more testing, more invasion of privacy in schools and colleges, all over. the united states doesn't want to stop consumption. we have seen this now over 40 years. so, to keep on insisting on when you will or when you do and if you do and if you will, i quite honestly think is not leading anywhere. why don't we accept where things are, accept that the united states doesn't really want to reduce consumption and accept that both mexico and the united states are going to have to live with this. let's live with it legally. let's adjust our laws to reality instead of trying in futile ways to adjust our reality to our laws. >> the thoughts laid out by our
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guest can be found in the january-february issue of foreign policy magazine. you can go to our c-span site for a link to that as well. we thank you for your time today. >> thank you very much for having me. >> here is what is on tomorrow. political roundtable to talk about the events of this weekend going forward. >> o'neal will talk about the role women play in peace building experts. then we will have a segment featuring rolf larsenn. he looks at al qaeda's determination to require weapons of mass destruction. all of that on "washington journalism" starting at 7:00
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a.m. we will see you then. .